This Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview has not one, but three games to cover, so I enlisted the help of Jason Moore of The Fantasy Footballers.
If you haven’t done so already, do yourselves a favor and listen to their podcast. Andy Holloway, Mike Wright, and Jason Moore are an independent podcast nominated for the first ever iHeartRadio Podcast Awards in the Sports Category. Follow that link to vote for them! They are hilarious and informative. I listen their podcast, in addition to our own Angle of Pursuit, every day.
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Now, are we all ready to gobble up some turkey, nearly burn our houses down frying said turkey, and valiantly try and ignore our friends and family argue about religion and politics? Let’s all be thankful for a full day of football on Thanksgiving.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions 12:30 pm Eastern
Jason Moore‘s Food Take: Bears @ Lions: Gravy By Itself
“Gravy is a Thanksgiving staple. It can be one of the most important dishes when paired with turkey, stuffing, or mashed potatoes. But have you ever had gravy by itself? Just drank gravy? No, of course not. You’re not a monster.
The Bears are Thanksgiving gravy and the Lions are an empty plate. With Golden Tate gone and the WR core banged up, the Lions have little to offer outside of being a receptacle for the gravy. Yes, Kerryon Johnson and Kenny Golladay at least help a little, but this game could turn into a one sided affair if Stafford doesn’t have some Thanksgiving magic.”
Does taking Kerryon Johnson out of this offense mean there is no longer a receptacle for the gravy and we just have to lick it off the table? Which is disgusting. As is this offense, with the exception of Kenny Golloday.
Let’s take a look at what we are dealing with for the Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions.
Bears QB: Mitch Trubisky….. or Chase Daniel?
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As of Tuesday, November 20, Trubisky did not participate in practice with a shoulder injury. According to the Chicago Tribune, there are “plenty of signs” that point toward Trubisky missing this Thanksgiving game.
Jason Moore… can I get a “So what? Who cares?” Well, yes, we should care. If Trubisky can’t play, it potentially downgrades the rest of the Bears’ passing offense.
However, as a University of Missouri graduate who watched Chase Daniel tear up the Big 12, I have a lot more faith in Daniel. He shined in preseason, which I understand is just preseason, but still. The Chicago Tribune reported Bears safety, Eddie Jackson, saying, “We really know what he’s capable of,” Jackson said. “If people are sleeping on him, I’m pretty sure he’s going to wake them up.”
Let’s not forget that Daniel played under Andy Reid with Nagy as his quarterback’s coach. He knows this playbook and can bring much needed confidence as a 10-year veteran. Albeit, a back up veteran, for the most part.
Lions QB: Matt Stafford.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: Keep an eye on the Bears quarterback situation and plan accordingly. Bench Matt Stafford, end of story.
Bears RBs: Jordan Howard & Tarik Cohen
The struggle is real! When you start Howard, he stinks and Cohen blows up and vice versa. Then you get sick of the guessing game, bench them, only to see the plethora of points that are accruing on your bench, ahem … week 7.
So, what should fantasy owners expect? I have no idea. But, I will tell you what I think the numbers suggest. The Detroit Lions defense suffocated Howard when they played in Week 10, but did give Cohen a rushing touchdown and allowed 6 receptions for 29 yards. With that being said, the Lions have allowed 7 rushing touchdowns to running backs this season and only 2 receiving touchdowns.
Lions RBs: LeGarrette Blount & Theo Riddick
Gross. Licking gravy off the table, gross. Bears are ranked 2nd in the NFL in total points against, according to ESPN. They have allowed 4 receiving touchdowns to running backs and only 1 to the rush.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: You can start Howard as a low end RB2, just be real about expectations. You can also flex Cohen. Don’t bother with Blount, unless you like torturing yourself, and start Theo Riddick in PPR formats.
Bears WRs: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller & Taylor Gabriel
Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller are good to fire up in your lineup. Even if Daniel plays, I still like both wide receivers. Be warned! That is a personal, “homer” opinion I have because I love Chase Daniel. Other fantasy analysts, such as Cynthia Frelund of the NFL Network, advise to sit him with Trubisky banged up or not playing. You decide.
I would avoid Gabriel. His targets and touches are incredibly inconsistent. To quote Yahoo Fantasy regarding Gabriel, “He’s not a Week 12 fantasy option.”
Lions WRs: Kenny Golladay…. and that’s it.
It is unclear if Marvin Jones is going to be healthy enough to suit up for Thursday’s game. That leaves Kenny Golladay with the monster’s share of the passing game and … well… I really have no idea who else will be playing wide receiver.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: Start Robinson and Miller, but be aware that Robinson may have Darius Slay chasing after him. Like Yahoo Fantasy said, don’t bother with Gabriel. Start Golladay. Can’t get much better for Kenny G than no other options against a 23rd rank defense against wide receivers in the Bears (ESPN).
Bears TE: Trey Burton
The tight end landscape is so bad this year, you probably have no other option but to start Trey Burton. Fear not! Lions have been historically terrible against tight ends. They have gotten better this year, ranked 15th on ESPN, but they have still allowed 5 touchdowns to the tight end position so far this season. Again, I am not terrified of Burton if Daniel starts, but if you have better options, go for them instead.
Lions TE: Um… they have tight ends?
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: You can feel all right about starting Trey Burton in this matchup. If you have another option such as Zach Ertz or Greg Olsen, then you can sit him. Chances are pretty good you don’t have that option. Stay away from anything that has the letters TE attached to a Lions player.
This isn’t rocket science. I think we all know the correct decisions here.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: Start the Bears above all others. Do not even look at the Lions defense.
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys 4:30 pm Eastern
Jason Moore‘s Food Take: Canned Cranberries
“Look, some people really love canned cranberries. Something happened in their youth to trick them into thinking it was good and now it’s nostalgic. The problem is, canned cranberries are objectively disgusting. This is the same situation as the Cowboys and Redskins game. Their own fans love their team and they might even remember the good ‘ol days when they were good. Just as the world no longer needs to pretend that canned cranberries are good, everyone knows these teams are aren’t very good. Two bad offenses trying to mask the truth with their defenses. This should be a low scoring game that some people (their fans) will enjoy but overall it should be as good as canned cranberries (terrible)”
Who hurt you, Jason? Who. Hurt. You.
Who am I kidding? I agree. In fact, I am going to take it a step further and equate it to room temperature cranberry sauce that has been left out on the table over night.
Why? Well, let’s take a look, shall we?
Redskins QB: Colt McCoy.
Let me repeat. Colt. McCoy. Please, sweet baby Jesus, don’t let this be another Nick Mullens. My fantasy football brain can’t handle it.
Cowboys QB: Dak Prescott
Meh….? Yes, Dak Prescott has finally come to fantasy fruition, but like Jason Moore’s food take, I think this will be a low scoring game. Prescott most likely won’t have the need to throw up a ton of passing yards in a game where they should be leading heavily.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: I am avoiding both of these quarterbacks this week.
Redskins RBs: Adrian Peterson & Kapri Bibbs
You probably have to start Peterson if you didn’t jump the gun and trade him away like you should have. He is one of the only viable options in this backfield, but the offensive line is like Swiss cheese. He should be an RB2 because of the volume but it’s possible he could be irrelevant with the Redskins struggling to catch up to the Cowboys.
Even with Chris Thompson hurt, Kapri Bibbs still isn’t a fantasy option in this offense. FantasyPros agrees, “With Byron Marshall eating into his already limited snap count, he’s not worth using in an obliterated Washington offense even if Thompson misses his fourth straight game.”
Cowboys RB: Ezekiel Elliot.
Well, that is self explanatory.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: Start Peterson if you have to and hope that McCoy relies on the run game for first downs and touchdowns. Obviously, start Zeke.
Redskins WRs: Er…. Maurice Harris & Josh Doctson?
Seriously, the injuries to this Redskins team have been devastating. The loss of their veteran quarterback, Alex Smith, just makes matters worse for the wide receiving corps.
Cowboys WRs: Amari Cooper & Cole Beasley
Yes, I know Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup are a part of this squad, I just don’t see their fantasy relevance. Hurns has fallen behind Cooper, Beasley, and Gallup and wasn’t even targeted in the Cowboys win against the Falcons.
Just a quick note regarding Michael Gallup. Please take a moment of your time and say a prayer for him and his family as they grieve from a horrific family tragedy. He will still suit up for Thanksgiving against the Redskins. It could be possible that the team rallies around him and feeds him the ball in a lopsided matchup. I am personally not going to take that gamble.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: Stay away from the Redskins wide receivers. We have no idea how they will mesh with Colt McCoy. On the Cowboys’ side of the ball, I am also staying away from these receivers. Cooper is back to being Cooper, no matter what team he plays for and I don’t see Dak Prescott needing to throw the ball very much.
Of course, as soon as you bench Amari Cooper, he’ll blow up. Your choice.
Redskins TE: Jordan Reed & Vernon Davis
Wait a minute. It’s Week 12 and Jordan Reed hasn’t missed a game yet? Whaaaat? Plus, Reed scored his first touchdown since Week 1 when Colt McCoy came in for the injured Smith. Reed is about the only player who may benefit from a back up quarterback. Vernon Davis may eat into his targets, but with so few options for McCoy to choose from, Reed may be the best option to start in this entire offense.
Cowboys TE: Jason Witten
I kid, I kid. But seriously, though, with Geoff Swaim hurt, we’re talking about Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz, and Rico Gathers. (Sigh). I don’t even know if those guys are even active.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Fantasy Preview Analysis: I actually feel pretty good about starting Jordan Reed, especially in the dumpster fire, tight end landscape. Plus, the Cowboys defense ranks 23rd on ESPN, allowing 11 touchdowns to tight ends so far this season. Obviously, avoid all Cowboy tight ends.
Redskins: There are better options on the waiver wire, such as their opponent, the Cowboys. You can also stream the Bills and even the Browns.
Cowboys: The Cowboys defense are certainly a streamable option this week against a decimated offensive line and a back up quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints 8:20 pm Eastern
Jason Moore‘s Food Take: Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip
“The grand finale. The sweet finish that is beloved by so many. No matter how much food you’ve eaten there is always room for a slice of delicious pumpkin pie hidden below a mountain of Cool Whip. The only thing sweeter this Thanksgiving might just be this Falcons and Saints game. Drew Brees at home will absolutely torch a terrible Falcons defense ensuring that Matt Ryan and the Falcons will have to keep pace. Every fantasy piece is a worthy start with Vegas expecting a ton of points in this divisional matchup. With 11 legitimate startable fantasy players in this game you might just have to go back for seconds.”
I mean, really, need I say more? Or should I say, need I say Moore? Eh?
Instead of telling you who you should start, I will tell you who I think you can leave on your bench.
Ito Smith: Atlanta Falcons Running Back – I think the Ito Smith experiment is over. If you really need to start him, just understand that he is touchdown or bust.
Austin Hooper: Atlanta Falcons Tight End – I know, I know. All those points and the terrible tight end situation! If you don’t have anyone else to start, then Hooper is ok for PPR. New Orleans is 3rd best against tight ends allowing 35 receptions for 376 yards and only 1 touchdown. According to FantasyPros, the only tight end to gain more than 50 yards on the Saints was O.J. Howard in Week 1.
Ben Watson: New Orleans Saints Tight End – There are way too many mouths to feed in this offense to give Watson too many looks.
Falcons & Saints DST: Considering we are talking about the abundance of points being scored, I think it’s safe to say you can avoid these two defenses. Saints do have interception potential, however, so if you’re desperate, you can pick them up. Just hold your nose and don’t look.